2012 NFL Season Preview: Green Bay Packers

Clay Matthews

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Just 18 months ago, the Green Bay Packers stood alone on top of the football world. In his third season as Green Bay’s starting quarterback, Aaron Rodgers had cemented himself as one of football’s elite quarterbacks. More good things were to come in Green Bay’s future, with the team finishing 15-1 in 2011, their sole loss coming as a fluke to the Kansas City Chiefs. The Packers looked like a strong bet to repeat, but they were suddenly surprised by the New York Giants – the team that would eventually go on to win the Super Bowl.

That one-and-done performance in the playoffs was enough to raise the eyebrows of some fans, but the 2012 Packers are in no real jeopardy. That is, they’re in no jeopardy until one considers how much the division has improved around them. The Chicago Bears have made tremendous upgrades on offense and have shored up their defense, so they figure to be a team that will be difficult to compete with. The Detroit Lions took the football world by storm last year, too. With their young nucleus improving every season and adding new players, they are another team that has the potential to cause problems for Green Bay. Having two divisional opponents that are of playoff caliber will be challenging despite the Packers having been rock-solid for the last several seasons.

As far as the Packers team itself, the biggest focus in 2012 will be on the team’s defense. The 2011 unit wasn’t just weak; they put up historically bad numbers. They allowed about 300 passing yards per game, and ended up allowing more passing yards than any other team in league history. Part of this is due to the fact that Green Bay scored so frequently that opposing teams had more possessions than usual. Even more credit is due to just how pass-happy the NFL has become over the last few years – with several quarterbacks shattering the single-season passing record, it should be no surprise that the worst defensive unit also put up some of the worst numbers ever.  Read More…